Dealing with the ongoing problems on Ocean County roads
Many Ocean County roads are in dire need of repairs but as we get set to enter 2018, are there any upgrades on the way?
Outgoing Freeholder Director Joe Vicari says Route 9 needs work but so does Route 37 and all the jug handles that frustrate drivers on a daily basis.
He says the Mathis Bridge is weakening at 70-years old and while repairs are underway, they need more funding from the state to finish.
"With all the work that's been taking place for three-years, it's weakening the main super-structure of the bridge," Vicari said. "So your spending $75,000,000.00 on the bridge, it's still basically the same...they took the rest of the money, which maybe $15-20-million dollars they could of have a brand new bridge...and they took that money and put it up in north Jersey."
He says their (The Freeholder Board) main concern is to continue addressing these road projects and seek necessary funding to make repairs.
It's one of the most congested roads in Ocean County but Route 9 has also become one of the most fatal for pedestrians.
Vicari says it's unclear when and where more repairs will be made to Route 9 and other roads.
"No matter how you look at it, if it's (road repairs) not done in the next few years it will never be done because the money doesn't come into Ocean County, it goes into north Jersey," Vicari said.
Vicari puts the onus on the state following the 2016 gas tax implementation which he says didn't provide the funding for repairs for county roads.
Between bitter road rage by drivers and pedestrians in many cases walking across the middle of Route 9, it's become not only a daily headache but a fatal roadway.
Vicari says things have become so bad, emergency crews are now having trouble just getting by.
"If you try and navigate and travel on Route 9 during the rush hour...there's no way you're going to get a firetruck or an ambulance on Route 9," Vicari said.
He also has concerns about any upgrades being done to the road without additional funding.
As development continues in ocean county, particularly with housing in Lakewood that's rippled into Jackson Township, Toms River, Brick and Point Pleasant with the growth, more cars are now on the roads.
Despite each municipality having a say with their own planning board on how to adjust, Vicari says the freeholders can't always step in and help.
But they've developed a plan that may upgrade the county roads.
"We have a master plan on development of those five-towns (Lakewood, Jackson, Toms River, Brick and Point Pleasant) on what we should do with county money on the county roads to improve traffic in those areas," Vicari said.
In addition to input from town officials, Vicari says they want to hear your thoughts on how to make the roads safer.
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